Category Archives: Parenting

Sometimes You Just Get It Right

Parenting is tough. I don’t have to tell anyone who is in charge of raising a young being that this season of life is trying. The job, while utterly fulfilling, will test your sanity and cause you to question your abilities. You will be faced with situations in which you are keenly aware that the way you react or what you say could steer a young heart into a ditch or into the light.

I’m in a particularly challenging season of parenting know as the middle school years. Someone once told me to survive these years you just need to hang on tight and wait for it to be over. While there is a lot of hanging on tightly, I’ve decided not to just wait for it to be over. I am very much aware that my days with these little vermin are numbered. I want to be present and I want to be shaping their character. The tough part is trying to figure out what works. Each child has their own style of communication and their own love language. Throw in some raging hormones and a mom finds herself banging her head against the wall most days….but some days you just get it right. Like today. My stepdaughter Giggles had a minor surgical procedure and I stopped in to check on her and brought her some flowers. She was truly grateful. Not because I brought flowers but because I was present. Intentional. Later with Ironthing I & II, it came time to enforce the nightly 1hr no electronic time

Exhibit A:

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and, after the initial grumbling, Ironthing I put on some music and he and I played cards while Ironthing II did his homework. A feeling of coziness and contentment came over the entire house. I was present. Ironthing I was present. And when Ironthing II was done with his homework, even after the mandatory downtime was over, he chose to play cards with his momma. I got it right today. I’m sure there are days ahead that I will not get it right but today I will celebrate and learn and take encouragement from the uncommon joy of what getting it right provides.

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Happy? Camper

So I’m going to camp tomorrow. Yes, me. I haven’t been to camp since 7th grade. I remember how excited I was back then. I’d like to say that I’m as excited as I was back then but the reality is that it’s likely to be more akin to Boot Camp. It seemed like a wonderful idea for birthday gift from Charming back in January. Why wouldn’t going to Ironman Training Camp held at the race course be a fabulous idea? Why wouldn’t signing up for your 3rd Ironman be a fabulous idea? It all sounds awesome when you are a year out and have fresh legs and an unbroken spirit. Today….well, not so much.

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Hangover or 4,300 yards? Looks the same doesn’t it? I look like my father in this picture. Why would I post such an unflattering picture for all of you to see? I’m keeping it real folks. Ironman training isn’t pretty. It’s messy, stinky, hard, stinky, mind numbing, did I say stinky? Not to mention wet. I spend most days either wet from sweat, wet from the pool or wet from the shower.

Anyway, back to the bright idea of IM training camp. The camp schedule goes like this:

Thurs evening – seminar on Ironman Execution specifically tailored to the Ironman Chattanooga course. (insert Endurance Nation Secret Sauce here ;-))

Friday 7am – race rehearsal bike. Ride 112 miles on the course. (It’s really 114 miles but who’s counting?)
3-6 mile post ride run

Friday evening – more seminar stuff

Saturday 7am – ANOTHER 112 (114) mile bike (shoot me now)

Saturday evening – call an ambulance

Sunday 8am – Long Run 9-13 miles. (should play out  more like a zombie walk)

Sunday afternoon – drive 2.5hrs home and resume parental duties

Ooof. Did I mention that they are calling for ridiculous heat? The heat index is going to be in the triple digits. Should be a genuine sufferfest. Good times. Kumbaya.

Suck it up Buttercup you say? You have rich people problems and you asked for this. You are right. The way I see this situation in front of me is that I need to approach this weekend at camp as an opportunity to gain a bunch of fitness, knowledge and overall badassery. I have to leave my current worn out, beaten spirit at home and seek out renewal through the suffering. Starting…..now.

On a bright note, I traveled up to Chattanooga last weekend to participate in an organized 2.4 mile practice swim on the race course. Priceless experience. The swim was fast and beautiful. Yup I said beautiful. Never thought I would use the words beautiful and swim in the same sentence but I’m evolving, what can I say? I PR’d the swim by 24 minutes. I was pretty freakin happy. They claim there was very little current but I wouldn’t care even if there was. I was happy to be in the water for only 1 hour 11 minutes vs. 1 hour 35 minutes. Here’s what it looks like.

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That is the lead swimmer. He was probably finished 20 minutes before me 😉 Isn’t it pretty?

While finishing a 2.4 mile “fast-for-me” swim was pretty joyful. It was not the greatest source of my uncommon joy this past weekend. Sitting on the side of a fisherman’s pond watching Ironthing1 pursue one of his passions was. It doesn’t really matter if I swim slower than most, can’t run a 7/min mile or bike 112 miles in under 6 hours. What matters are the gifts that God has blessed me with as a wife, mother and friend. It was a solid reminder that there is life beyond Ironman.

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The Empty Space

A few month’s ago our oldest child, Giggles, moved out on her own and instantly a light went out in our home. Giggles came to live with us six years ago. She was struggling to find her way after graduating from high school and it broke our hearts to see how her spirit had been broken. Giggles has always been the loudest, most gregarious kid. She lights up a room when she enters it. But not so much back then.  So we provided her with a soft place to land and she will say that it was the best decision she has made for herself in her life but I will say it was one of the biggest blessings God has ever provided to her father and I.  It took time for her to realize she could trust, be honest and love freely but over time Giggles has educated herself in a profession, manages people and has matured into a beautiful young woman.

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And I miss her so. I miss her laughter, I miss watching her hang out with her brothers and I miss all the little shared looks and understandings we exchanged on a daily basis. But I have to cast my eyes to the positive. We were truly blessed to have had an opportunity to develop a deeply loving relationship with this child. The dynamics of the divorce and geography limited the relationships with the Girls when they were growing up. It’s simply not the same when you do not share a roof together 100% of the time. Divorce stinks.  The positive is that Giggles has been able to truly find out who her father is and develop a deep bond with him. And I have known uncommon joy from being able to love on a truly special person. Now, don’t roll your eyes, it hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns and I may be on the verge of waxing poetic, but my heart is full and Giggles is a big reason for that.  So I suppose for now I will have to get used to having the house fully lit just once a week.